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City Harvest trial: Xtron not operating independently of church, says prosecution

Published on Jul 18, 2014 11:58 PM
City Harvest senior pastor Kong Hee arriving at the State Courts for the City Harvest trial on 18 July 2014. The prosecution in the case argued on July 18, 2014, that music production company Xtron was tied to City Harvest Church in a complicit web of business ties that the church had tried to keep under wraps, hiding the relationship even from members. -- ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

SINGAPORE - Music production firm Xtron was not an "independent commercial entity at arm's length" from City Harvest Church, but a puppet of the church board, prosecutors argued on Friday.

In questioning former board member John Lam, the first of six indicted church officials to testify, Chief Prosecutor Mavis Chionh painted a complicit web of business ties that the church had tried to keep under wraps - even from its own members.

Lam, 46, earlier testified that Xtron and various other entities were not linked to the church. He also said that there were fears of public disapproval of its Crossover Project, which was fronted by founder Kong Hee's wife, Ms Ho Yeow Sun.

The church had wanted to woo non-converts through Ms Ho's secular pop music. Kong, Lam and four others are accused of siphoning about $50 million from the church's building fund into sham bonds with two firms, including Xtron, to bankroll her career.

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